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First things first. as I mentioned in my review of the first season, I’m not a gamer, never have been The Last of Us, and I haven’t even watched the video about it. So, I will be discussing this episode and all future episodes based solely on how it works as a TV show.

Judging by that, the super-sized When You’re Lost in the Dark is doing pretty well. All of the season’s episodes cover familiar ground in one way or another, but the premiere probably crosses that field the heaviest. As Leo Tolstoy once said, all zombie apocalypses are alike, but every post-apocalypse is uniquely unfortunate. The episode finally gets to the specifics of this one and, more importantly, introduces Joel (Pedro Pascal), Ellie (Bella Ramsey), and Tess (Anna Torv) as interesting characters before the three of them embark on their perilous mission. But until then, we have to watch the decline of civilization as many dystopian shows and movies tend to do.

Which does not mean that the material is bad. just more generic than expected, especially in later episodes. And even those sequences are well-executed, even if some of them, like Joel, Sarah, and Tommy’s terrifying attempt to drive out of town before getting the mushrooms, feel a little too much like a game level where you’re not allowed to. play


I’m told the drive is actually a cutscene in the game, and maybe it’s in between different levels. Here I felt like I had to have the controller in my hands the whole time. But the most compelling parts of the episode come before and after the nightmare that engulfs the world on the last weekend of September 2003. Although Joel will become our central character, he is a supporting player in most of the 2003 scenes, which are much more focused. on his daughter Sarah, played by Nico Parker. In those scenes, Sarah appears as a typical teenager, sometimes lost in her own head and other times friendly and generous to others, including her dad and their neighbors. Parker (daughter of

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This, of course, should not be the case. Instead, creators Craig Mazin and Neil Druckman use those scenes to raise the emotional stakes for Joel and make us feel deeply the pain he feels when Sarah is shot by a panicked soldier on the night the world falls. The man Joel has become when the story jumps to 2023 is almost entirely defined by that tragic moment. He’s emotionally closed off and effectively brutal, and when his new charge Ellie is threatened by a soldier at the end of the episode, he has a PTSD flashback to Sarah’s death and goes absolutely savage in the way he beats this man up.

Joel has no interest in that, or, it seems, anything else. He has a secret route in and out of town so he can import drugs and other paraphernalia to make his life a little more bearable. And he has a girlfriend in Tess who is mischievous in her own way. (After the beating, he’s introduced surrounded by armed men, but it’s clear that he’s in command of the room the whole time and would likely find a way out of his predicament, even if it was a well-timed Firefly bomb. He’s given an escape route.) He’s more of an existence. has than lives, haunted by the loss of her daughter more than the loss of everything she knew, and with little purpose beyond getting through the next day.

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The target then takes the form of Ellie, a girl around Sarah’s age who needs to get out of town. Like Tessie, we meet her when she’s someone else’s prisoner, in this case Firefly boss Marlene (Merle Dandridge). Ellie doesn’t have as much command of the situation as Tess, but we also quickly see that she’s not afraid of being tied to a wall by armed men who won’t explain why they want her. And when Marlene releases her into the care of Joel and Tess, Ellie immediately begins to annoy her taciturn new guardian with an interest in her apartment and her life. It’s an instantly appealing entrance for Bella Ramsey and a great contrast between Ellie’s outgoing personality and Pedro Pascal’s deeply muted Joel.

Ellie (Bella Ramsey) and Tess (Anna Torv) “The Last of Us” series premiere. HBO: The Boston scenes are notable for their absence of zombies, although we do get some sickening images of a dead body embedded in a wall of mushrooms as Joel and the others traverse an underground tunnel late in the night. And we discover that Marlene needs Ellie to get to her other Fireflies in the west because Ellie is somehow immune to the infection. Focusing on people and the possibility of a cure is a sign of how FEDRA has fundamentally eliminated an immediate threat, but it also shows how The Last of Us – like

The Walking Dead and other examples of the genre—may treat the undead as an unfortunate and dangerous fact of life and other humans as true monsters. All in all, a promising start, though I’ll admit I got to the end of it wondering why


was what most of my gaming friends were excited about. But When You’re Lost in the Dark effectively sets up the world and our protagonists, making all the good things possible. A few other thoughts.*TV needs intervention to prevent future title sequences like this one or the one used Lord of the Rings: Rings of Power which seem to have learned all the wrong lessons

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opening credits. People don’t like that sequence because it’s two minutes of CGI forming different shapes; they love it because it’s two minutes of CGI telling a sort of story, establishing the geography of the series as a whole and individual episodes, changing periodically to introduce new points on the map or prepare us to return to less-visited locations like The. Pike. While the idea of ​​the spores growing into something resembling a city, i.e. a metaphor for how the world as we know it has been consumed by fungi, is clever, it’s still ultimately just a bunch of shapes and not interesting enough to go continues as long as it does. I already wished the screencasters had a Skip Intro button in episode two.

* John Hannah does a good job in the opening scene in 1968 playing a scientist who warns of this climate change disaster. Her monologue could easily play as a bald exposition dump, a way to contextualize what’s happening while we’re witnessing events from Joel and Sarah’s POV, but Hannah absolutely sells the inherent fear of the thing. Trending * Pedro Pascal has many gifts as an actor, many of which are on display in this episode. Regional accents — or, at least

this regional accent—may not be one of them. The good news, depending on your point of view, is that Joe’s Texas accent appears intermittently in this episode and throughout the season, and after a while it mostly disappears. * Finally, it’s always good to see Friday Night Lightsalum Brad Leland in The Texas Story , even if things end much worse for his character here than for Buddy Garrity.



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